Is this an intellectual exercise or are you trying to deconvert others? My intellectual answer is that "good" is a public myth; i.e. it is a meaningless construct.
"Good" is meaningless? Hardly.
When you choose the apple fritter over the glazed donut, it's because in your judgment the one is better than the other.
Whenever someone chooses to give up a kidney to save another person, they are making a judgment based on some sort of concept of The Good.
I don't get what's so "intellectual" about your rather flip statement that the good is a public myth.
It looks like I do need to explain. The term "good" as used here is contextually defined to be referring to "good" in a moral sense, not in some subjective perception of taste, smell, appearance or something like that. Taste for foods such as "glazed donuts" is irrelevant. Given that morality is a public myth, that necessarily makes any moral concept of "good" just part of that public myth.
Morality as a public myth has been discussed in other threads, but I can post on that again if you're interested. Basically, it came out of the discussion "Atheists cannot be moral" in which I concluded that "morality" was a fallacious and fictitious construct.
Well, my own view is that "morality" attaches to a prescriptive system and all one has to do is decide if one is following the prescribed behavior (The Ten Commandments, The Golden Rule). Ethics involves actually thinking about what the best thing to do is for oneself, and to the extent one is altruistic, for others. Weighing everything, and then making a choice. So we may largely agree.
I've no doubt, that with that assurance, Kir will sleep much better tonight.
I see ethics, as you've described it here, as a much more useful construct. It is definitely meaningful to talk about systems of decision-making. We all have one, in some form or another. A system where we all act in our own better interests and rely on civil institutions to enforce the boundaries between us works for me. For me crossing those boundaries would be anything that diminishes the rights of another. This is all just descriptive as I see it and makes no claim of universal truth or right or wrong.
Having said all this, I suppose we can say I am ensnared in moral issues if I bring up "rights". But at the end of the day I don't think we have to appeal to "morality": those of us who want a civilization that works can agree to certain rules that will allow society to work. That means respecting each other's "rights" in the sense that we do not interfere in their lives without their free consent.Those that disagree or who cannot accept the minimum amount of interference necessary for civilization to function we can exile. That is, we can kick them out. It's just pragmatic.
Ask him to tell you the "goodness" in Psalm 137:9, in the "New living translation:... that says...Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them on the rocks...", or Isaiah 13:16..."Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives ravaged..."
Where's the GOOD in these Bible quotes...?? The Bible is FILLED with this kind of horror...!!
The problem is, those passages seem descriptive rather than prescriptive. They don't seem to be saying "Go thou and do likewise."
These answers are all very earnest and erudite but it seems to be all resting on the fact that God exists. Since we all know (we all know this don't we?) that God is a man-made construct created to fill in the gaps of unknowing and thereby stave off fear (to a degree) I just wonder why are we even entertaining this question.
God can do whatever the hell it wants depending on how it has been defined by the definers.
Good has nothing to do with God and apportioning 'good' to God and good being Godly or even God-like is just stupid and plays into the hands of the perpetrators of the hogwash that you seem to be wrestling with.
I am a bit confused why you would not dismiss this question out of hand. Socrates never saw planet Earth from outer space, he couldn't sample all the world's religions at the touch of a button. He might be clever, he might have been a genius, but he did not have the context we have today.